Art you can wear: Jewellery by Charlotte Valkeniers

Charlotte Valkeniers’ training is impressive; from interior design to footwear design, Valkeniers seems to have engaged herself in a continuous track of learning.  While she continues to experiment and explore the boundaries of art and design, she has chosen to specialise in jewellery design.  We speak to her about her inspirations and her collection.

Tell us more about yourself and how you’ve come to be based in London.

Valkeniers: I started my education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (as I am Belgian) and continued on to spend a semester abroad through the Erasmus scheme.  This is when I fell in love with England, its people, its fashion and art scene.  I started experimenting with materials and techniques and began to find my own aesthetics.  After completing the semester, I decided to follow my instincts and finish my BA in England instead of Belgium; a decision I have never regretted.  After completing my BA with a collection of hand-blown glass jewellery, I didn’t feel ready to go into employment.  Realising that the level of experimentation I want towards materials and techniques would never be achievable in the commercial world, I chose to pursue a Master’s degree. The Fashion Artefact course at London College of Fashion seemed the right one as it offered me the freedom to explore any area I desired and was very focused on the quality and skill that goes into the making of each collection.

What inspires you?

Valkeniers: In my own practice, curiosity towards different materials/techniques has always been the main instigator and drive.  My designs are mostly developed through thorough and intense experimentation.  This has illustrated itself through the use of wood, perspex, Corian, resins, leather, ceramics and hand-blown glass.

 Who do you design for?

Valkeniers: Someone who isn’t afraid of making a statement.  I don’t see my work as an addition to an outfit but rather, the starting point and the main focus.  It is almost like a piece of clothing on its own.  Therefore I think only somebody with a strong sense of individuality is able to enjoy my work; regardless of their gender.

Tell us more about your graduation collection.

Valkeniers: I started to develop my graduate collection after talking to a befriended knitwear designer about our respective fields.  The question on the possibilities of using knitted leather was raised and the next day, the first of many samples was produced. Visually, the key shapes in the collection were led by the connection and movement of muscle structures in the human body.  This also directed for the collection to be androgynous, as well as the choice to introduce a rigid material to hold the knitted structures in place (as bone to muscle).  The combination of the polished, almost industrial looking metalwork and the soft, organic leather results in a surprising juxtaposition of materials, textures and character.  The choice to incorporate the locks within the metalwork, and thus make them invisible, allows the pieces to be worn in several ways as there is no front or back and no interruption; they are a whole.

From interior design to footwear design, you are trained in several different disciplines of art.  Why did you choose jewellery design as a practice?

Valkeniers: To me being a jewellery designer means having freedom.  It allows me to work with the nature of the materials and adapt designs as they are being made.  In jewellery, there is not always the need to rigidly stick to a design or a specification.  It is a three dimensional craft, from beginning to end.  More than anything, it is the satisfaction of creating a desirable object with your own two hands that makes everything worthwhile.

Valkeniers is in the process of developing her collection into something that is even more wearable and accessible for sale in London.  Stay tuned!

X Sybil

(Images from Charlotte Valkeniers‘ website)

About fashionartisan
Bringing out the art in fashion

2 Responses to Art you can wear: Jewellery by Charlotte Valkeniers

  1. Jocelyn Red says:

    I love your site! Thanks for insights! I got the idea of starting a jewellery line and mostly many collection and design but this collection also nice!

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